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WGA and AMPTP reach tentative agreement, suspending picketing
26 Sep 2023 : Luke Shanahan
WGA
The Writers’ Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached an MBA, or Minimum Basic Agreement. The WGA described this as “an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language”. The details of the agreement have not yet been released.

On the 146th day of the writers’ strike, the WGA and AMPTP reached a “tentative agreement”. This does not yet mark the end of the strike, however picketing has been suspended while the agreement is finalised.

The WGA stated that they had “reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA”. An MBA, or Minimum Basic Agreement, is the collective bargaining agreement that covers the benefits, rights, and protections for most of the work done by WGA members. In a statement to their members, the WGA described the agreement as an “agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language”.

The next step in the process of finalising an agreement is two internal referendums reportedly scheduled for today, Tuesday September 26th. The WGA negotiating committee, led by Ellen Stutzman, will hold a vote on whether or not to recommend the agreement, and following this the agreement will be sent to the WGA West’s board and the WGA East’s council for approval.

Once these votes have taken place, members will receive a summary of the agreement along with a memorandum of agreement (a more formalised document outlining specific legalities of the agreement) prior to their own ratification vote.

For now, WGA members are still on strike, but picketing has been suspended after nearly 5 months of protest. Although details of the agreement have not yet been published, it is understood that the WGA and AMPTP have been able to overcome the impasse of protections against AI and minimum writing room staffing.

It is unclear exactly how soon writers will return to work, given the new agreement is yet to be finalised, as well as the matter of SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing strike which the WGA continues to support. The WGA encouraged their members to join SAG-AFTRA’s picket line in their statement to members announcing the tentative agreement and suspension of the writers’ picket.

The WGA’s statement can be read in full below:

DEAR MEMBERS,

We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language. 

What we have won in this contract – most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd – is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days. It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.

We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time.

Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.

If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval. 

Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification. 

To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week. 

Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us — and had to fend off rumors — during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.  

As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.





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